Monday, December 31, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Runners-up: Family Circus (the split dialogue is very awkward, Dolly looks like a complete idiot), Hagar the Horrible, Blondie, Red and Rover, Rhymes with Orange, Mother Goose and Grimm, Close to Home, Beetle Bailey, For Better or For Worse, Tank MacNamara (if an outfield did nothing well but made no mistakes, they could be average), Agnes
No comic really jumped out at me today, but this is my winner. I'm intrigued by the potential plot developments here. BD once thought about having an affair with Melissa. Could Garry Trudeau be revisiting that idea? Might BD become a therapist? Am I reading to much into this? Anyway, I found BD's response in panel four to be kind of sweet. In general, I don't think Doonesbury has gotten enough love on my blog because it's often not that funny. But it excels in character development and storytelling. It's definitely one of the better strips out there.
Runners-up: Get Fuzzy, Pooch Cafe, Curtis (I like the weather and warrants permitting line), Dennis the Menace (not bad today, which exceeds expectations, so it earns a runner-up nod)
Monday, December 10, 2007
Runners-up: Speed Bump, Red and Rover (fart jokes are the last refuge of the unfunny), Hagar the Horrible, Blondie
Runners-up: Baby Blues, Pearls Before Swine, Garfield (Elf slapping: the next Olympic sport?), Frazz
Maybe I'm in the minority, but I don't find very poor parenting to be funny.
Runners-up: Blondie, Single and Looking, Family Circus
Runners-up: Zits (I liked the blort! sound effect), Doonesbury (Zonker's line "many of them profitable" is great),Candorville, Garfield, Lio, Opus, Pearls Before Swine, Agnes, Brewster Rockit: Space Guy! (this is really a one joke strip (Brewster is stupid), but it's a joke that still amuses me for some reason)
Runners-up: Close to Home, Mother Goose and Grimm, Red and Rover
Runners-up: Lio, Agnes, Pooch Cafe, Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!, Sherman's Lagoon, For Better or For Worse (I love how Francoise calls Anthony and Liz out on their patheticness)
Runners-up: Non Sequiter, the Piranha Club, Brevity, Red and Rover
Pearls Before Swine wins in a photo finish ahead of Get Fuzzy. Things to like about this cartoon: great visuals, gadzooks is a funny word, the names of the superheros, Pig's mild acceptance of his totally lame character. I loved this strip.
Runners-up: Speed Bump, Lio, Get Fuzzy (As is common in Get Fuzzy, the punchline is not that great, but the dialogue in the set-up is awesome. Satchel's line in panel one (I don't feel butterflies...that would be creepy) made me laugh out loud. Darby Conley must put a lot of effort into his strip. He has consistently great, detailed art, and witty dialogue in almost every panel)
Runners-up: Close to Home, Red and Rover, Prickly City (Republicans are pure and virtuous, and Democrats are evil, I get it already), Mother Goose and Grimm (another bad joke with an awkward set-up)
Best: First, I enjoy the thought of a bewildered flamingo conservancy, so the baseline of humor in this strip is high. I like that Agnes fraternizes with some random drunk guy. I like Agnes' complete lack of a clue. I like Trout's complete lack of surprise at Agnes' lack of a clue.
Runner-up: Baby Blues
As usual, a joke about technology falls flat. What does Tigger have to do with text messaging? What does TTFN stand for (I'm only 27, and I don't know)?
Runners-up: Frank and Ernest, Blondie (I still don't understand the joke), Baldo, Brevity, Red and Rover
Bonus Visual Runner-up:
Hagar the Horrible might be consistently the worst strip in the Post. It's become one of those strips that uses a one off joke each day. The characters have no personality to drive jokes with. The jokes are often incongruous with the setting. This strip really has no redeeming features to it right now, and it's probably time for it to be put out to stud.
Pastis does a good job explaining the human condition (although he probably just wanted to draw a rat with a napkin on her head). It's not a nice place inside any of us, and dealing with that is one of the major questions of human existence.
Runners-up: Watch Your Head (love the third panel), Candorville, Zits (I like that Connie comes out on top of this technological interaction for a change), Frazz, Big Nate (my little love huntress is a great, great pet name), Mutts
Bonus Visual Runner-up:
Today's Lio is a good example of what makes a strip work. The joke is driven by the character's personalities. The father has typical dreams of living vicariously through his son's athletic pursuits. Lio needs to deal with a monster. Another great thing about Lio is the question of fantasy or reality. Mark Tatulli, like Bill Watterson in Calvin and Hobbes, never resolves the question of what reality is. We are left to speculate whether the monster in the third panel is real, or solely in Lio's imagination.
Random Comic Note:
I work with kids, and this strip illustrates well one of the challenges of managing kids. Barry makes an inappropriate comment, but the father reacts to Curtis' reaction. Obviously, Curtis' reaction is inappropriate, but if the father had disciplined Barry for his comment, Curtis would likely be satisfied that justice had been served and could temper his reactions.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Runners-up: Prickly City, Non Sequitur, Mother Goose & Grimm, Red and Rover, Beetle Bailey
Runners-up: Zits, Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!
Monday, December 3, 2007
Brevity is one of the worst strips in the paper. It seems like Guy & Rodd choose some random topic (My other car is... bumper stickers!) and do whatever it takes to come up with a joke, no matter how little sense it makes.
Runners-up: Family Circus, Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Mother Goose & Grimm, For Better or For Worse, Red and Rover
Another win for Agnes. The line about squirting out eggs clinched it for me. While you don't read Agnes for the art, I like how Tony Cochran expresses Trout's sarcasm with some well placed eye-rolling.
Runners-up: Sally Forth (the joke about paying someone not to play music is rather trite, but the song lyrics made me smile), Big Nate (Jenny's got quite a shove)
Sunday, December 2, 2007
The visual in the last panel explains quite well why this is today's worst comic. I think I'm going to have nightmares about this.
Runners-up: Dennis the Menace (Grumpies!?, what the heck?), Family Circus, Garfield (the fourth and fifth panels are identical except for Jon's eyes, lazy, lazy, lazy), Prickly City, Rhymes with Orange, Blondie, Hagar the Horrible, Tank McNamara (bad attempt at being topical, and A-Rod could have gotten more money if he didn't sign so quickly with the Yankers, so it's wrong in addition to being not funny)
Runners-up: Cul de Sac (a consistently great strip, the timing on this particular one made me laugh), Opus , Sherman's Lagoon, Pickles (does anyone not repeat stories?)
The Spice Girls were popular when I was in high school. Elmo is five. The odds of him knowing who the Spice Girls are, or who David Beckham is must be non-existent. So it's a dumb joke, and it's awkwardly set up.
Runners-up: Red and Rover, Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!, Speed Bump
I was actually a little moved by this strip. Stephan Pastis often includes short term characters who appear for a few jokes. Most disappear within a week, some stick around like effeminate vikings and the Crocs. Andy is my favorite new character in a while. He actually has personality; this isn't a joke, it's a character sketch. I just love Andy's unrelenting hope and I love the pathos Pastis imbues Andy with.
Bonus Visual Runner-up:
It took some serious deliberation to decide whether I liked Lio or Pearls Before Swine better today. I love the drawing of Lio laughing in the third panel. And the joke is better than the jokes in most of the one off joke strips.
Runners-up: Agnes, Lio
Friday, November 30, 2007
So is the joke that morons are likely to get stranded on desert isles, because that is the only way this makes any sense to me. Otherwise it's just the typical representation of evolution with the word morons attached. Maybe morons are funny, but probably not.
Runners-up: Red and Rover, Curtis, Rhymes with Orange, Candorville (Darrin Bell is capable of much wittier and relevant jokes about the quality of the media)
This comic wins a lot of points for the visual in the third panel, which I thought was cute. Otherwise it's the same joke Stephan Pastis has been riffing on all week, but no one else did better today really. And if you're going to use one joke all week, at least make it a good one, which Pastis usually does.
Runners-up: Watch Your Head, Dilbert, Agnes, Non-Sequiter
Other Comics notes: Dennis the Menace and Mother Goose and Grimm both have dumb jokes today, but I wanted to praise them for the visuals. Joey's expression and Attila stuck upside down in a Pringles can both amused me. This doesn't make up for the lame jokes, but at least they did something well.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
First, it's not a particularly funny joke, and like most jokes in the Circus, it's dependent on the kids being stupid. Second, I always find the split dialogue to be really awkward. Having part of the dialogue spoken in the art and part in the caption really ruins the timing for me. I suppose that's one of the challenges of a single panel strip.
Runners-up: None today, I felt everything was at least mediocre.
I liked today's Dilbert, which is unusual. The glory days of this strip are past I fear. I have a brother who reminds me of Wally in this cartoon. He's an engineer, and has limited fashion sense. So if he is doing something (for instance growing his hair long), it makes me reconsider that as a fashion possibility.
Runners-up: Lio, Brewster Rockit: Space Guy! (I liked the visual), Pearls Before Swine
Random Note: The joke in Rhymes with Orange was bad as usual, but what saved this for me was the details in the visual. The torn up curtains and plant and the tally marks scratched in the wall were nice touches.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I like Agnes complete either ignorance or acceptance of Trout's sarcasm in the last panel. And the idea that maybe Agnes does not know that they are not on Madagascar
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The joke is lame; Garfield is a cat, of course he takes Jon's stuff. But what really sets this apart is the artwork, or lack thereof. Jim Davis (or his lackeys) have done is move Garfield's arms. There is no background, no change of expression, no effort at all to create any sort of interesting visual.
Runners up: Non-Sequiter, Piranha Club, On the Fast Track, Curtis, Hagar the Horrible
A surprise win today. It's nice to see one of the Foobs showing some sort of spirit. And April makes a good point about the composition of the crowd, and the self-important bubble the Mike and the other Pattersons live in.
Runners-up: Pooch Cafe (the relationship between Chazz and Carmen is really sweet), Agnes (I like the thought of Communists on the mean streets)
Monday, November 26, 2007
Modern art is less accessible than more traditional, representative art forms. Deal with it.
Runners-up: Tank McNamara, Agnes, Family Circus, Brevity
Watch Your Head is in the third tier of comics. The first tier is Get Fuzzy. The second tier consists of comics that are generally funny, cute, or thought provoking. The third tier is comics that are generally good, occasionally very good. I like this particular strip because of what it doesn't say. We're left to speculate about what circumstances would make a college student marry Tina Turner. I really like the first panel also. I enjoy way Jason invites his roommate to his wedding in a completely off-hand manner.
Runners-up: Pooch Cafe, Pearls Before Swine
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The premise is that guys are dumb enough to poke dangerous animals.
Runner up: Close to Home
I love Lio because of the expressiveness of the art. By eliminating the dialogue, Mark Tatulli forces himself to become even more expressive with his pictures. The moths coming out of the wallet are what really grabbed my attention.
Runner up: Sally Forth (I am loving the Ted stands up to Sally's mom storyline)
Monday, October 29, 2007
I loved this strip on a lot of levels. First the question "Do you mind if I bemoan my fate?" might be the awesomest question ever. Second, the classification of people into haikus or limericks is brilliant. Third, I am a gentle haiku in love (but I'm recovering!) with a dirty limerick. Fourth, Trout's attitude toward Agnes (taking everything in stride) is a great representation of the fun dynamic of friendship that they have. The strip basically contains three really fun, awesome lines.
Runners up: Lio (this strip reminds me of the serial composers...ask me why sometime), Get Fuzzy (should lose points for having four static panels, but the artwork is so good Darby Conley can usually get away with it), Cul-de-Sac, Doonesbury (I think I related to it because we do this type of reframing a lot with the kids I work with)
About 25 percent or more of the population is white, but only a handful of whites -- about 1 percent -- attend the public schools. Many instead attend Magnolia Heights, a private academy.
Como Elementary's student body is 99 percent black, and most of the students live in poverty, many in tattered mobile homes.
Magnolia Heights seems like a nice school. Most kids go on to college, they seem to have a lot of extra curricular activities, a lot of parental involvement, including a planned giving campaign that pays for things like new computers and upgraded sports facilities, and the school is very white. Magnolia Heights was founded in 1970. School desegregation in Mississippi began (after years of stalling by any tactic available) began in 1970.
I don't disagree with private schools in theory, but part of the reason Como Elementary is the worst school in the country (the premise of the article), is almost certainly related to the fact that so many concerned, active parents are drained out of the public schools by Magnolia Heights and other private schools. It is unjust for parents to pull their children, and by extension their time and energy, from public schools because of school quality. It is better to solve the problem than to enable it with your behavior.
Of course it's easy for me to get on my soapbox when I don't have any kids, and don't have to wrestle with this incredibly tough decision myself.
Pollsters and political scientistssay some religious voters who supported Bush now feel discouraged, either by the war in Iraq , or by the rich-poor gap, or because they feel he didn't go far enough on the hot-button social issues they cared about, such as abortion and gay marriage. And new issues have risen in importance for religious voters that are not seen as GOP priorities, such as the environment.
One of the features I hope to include regularly is the Best and Worst Comics of the day. I tracked for my own personal edification for a month last year, and found the exercise very fascinating. It made me take a more critical look at the comics, it made me realize how good or bad some comics are, and it was fun. Some ground rules: only comics published in the Post count, only comics that attempt to be humorous count (so no Judge Parker, Spider-Man or Mark Trail, which aim to be serious; no Zippy the Pinhead, which aims to be weird).
The reason I hate this current series in Mother Goose & Grimm is that it is based on an outdate cultural reference. I had to look up who Leonna Helmsley was, and I'm generally a very literate person who gets a lot of outdated references. The number of people under thirty who know who Leonna Helmsley was must be very small, and this ruins the joke. If it were Paris Hilton's dog, it would at least be accessible and kind of relevant (although still a waste of news print).
Runners Up: Close to Home (bad joke, worse art), Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, For Better or For Worse (overdone sentimentality)
I'm torn on this one. Get Fuzzy had the best joke (might as well give liberals boxing gloves), although as usual, it was not the punch line but a throw away line in the middle of the strip. Pooch Cafe made me smile, although the joke is not exactly sophisticated. I think the just checking punchline expressed the idea behind the strip perfectly. But I really just liked Mutts today. I don't normally enjoy Mutts overdone cuteness, but this one was nice. Maybe because I'm in a position where I wish love could bloom between to generally incompatible people.
Runners Up: Get Fuzzy, Pooch Cafe
"It was pure talent," she said. "When you're good, you're good."